Thawing meat in water, even chicken or turkey, is perfectly safe if done correctly. Correctly means in cold water, and changing the water every 30 minutes if necessary to keep it cold. Most foods, certainly a chicken or chicken parts, will thaw in 2 to 3 hours. At that point, everything is fine, and the food can be either cooked or refrigerated.
The reason that it is not recommended often is because most people don't do it that way, and in your case, you can't really do it that way (because you are at work
However, cooking to the proper internal temperature will eliminate a very large part of the risk of getting sick, as it will both kill the bacteria and usually destabilize toxins from MOST common food borne pathogens.
Of course, folks have to decide if they are willing to take that risk that remains for themselves. Why it is different in a restaurant, is because they are cooking for others who trust that they will use best practices to reduce the risk as much as possible.